Stan Sexton could have stayed in the nest. Remained an assistant coach and Bill Dee's heir apparent.
That was the safe course.
All of which make him eminently qualified for the job he officially accepted Wednesday: head football coach at Phoebus High.
"We didn't want just anybody," Phantoms lineman Micah Blakely said before a weight-lifting session. "We wanted someone to take over the reins and get things up running quickly. The only person we could think of was Coach Sexton."
The only person anyone could think of was Stan Sexton.
He worked under Dee from 1991-2004 as Phoebus won two state championships and emerged from Hampton's considerable shadow. He coached running backs and coordinated special teams.
That experience alone would have made Sexton a logical successor whenever Dee retired, especially since Dee's defensive coordinator and childhood running mate, Greg Narvid, had no interest in wearing the big whistle.
But Sexton had long been ready, in Dee's words, "to spread his wings." He applied for head-coaching positions at Kecoughtan, Heritage and Menchville but didn't land a gig until Warwick hired him to replace Tommy Reamon in 2005.
Sexton guided the Raiders to a 23-19 record and two playoff appearances in four years. They were 0-5 against Phoebus, but the regard in which Sexton was held on Ireland Street never waned.
"One thing you always knew about playing the Raiders was you had to work hard to beat them," Blakely said.
After a 20-10 victory over Warwick in 2006, Phantoms running back Dennis Mathis embraced Sexton and said, "I miss you so much."
The feeling was mutual. A 1983 Phoebus graduate, Sexton missed the people, the place, the winning.
When Dee resigned unexpectedly this off-season to become an assistant coach at Christopher Newport, Sexton was on his way home. The only issue was finding him the required teaching position.
Had none surfaced, Narvid, no offense intended, was Plan B.
"No offense taken," said Narvid, who will remain as an assistant coach. "I consider myself Plan B, too. I didn't want the job."
Didn't want the ancillary duties and accompanying headaches. Eligibility forms? Player discipline? Parental politics?
Thanks, but no.
Sexton can relate.